Cathleen Martin says she’s ready for her next adventure. The 55-year-old Barryton resident spent years suffering the painful effects of spinal stenosis. Martin says the degenerative disc disease, that runs in her family, left her virtually helpless – and depressed.
“It was just so debilitating and made me hopeless,” says Martin. “I couldn’t even walk 20 feet without my back cramping up. I was missing out on so many things in life, especially my gardening, which I love.”
Specialists placed a spinal cord stimulator in Martin’s lower back in 2013, which offered some relief. Then, the pain intensified into her neck and extremities.
“The spinal headaches turned into migraines, which forced me to keep the house dark all the time,” says Martin. “The pain made its way down my right shoulder into my arm, leaving it so weak. I couldn’t tend to our land, or garden anymore.”
This time around, Martin enlisted the help of West Michigan Pain specialists Girish Juneja, MD, and Dennis Behler, PA. Dr. Juneja informed Martin about how improvements in spinal cord stimulator technology – specifically Nevro’s HF10 device – could help block her pain, while allowing physicians to get a more accurate picture of the damage to her spine.
“I wasn’t sure I wanted the new stimulator at first because the last stimulator  was so large, which made recovery difficult because they had to grind away some of my bone in order to place it,” said Martin. “When I heard Nevro’s stimulator didn’t require me to change the settings for walking or standing, and that it was MRI compatible, I agreed, because I wanted them to get a better look at my back.”
“This high-frequency technology is groundbreaking,” said West Michigan Pain specialist Girish Juneja, MD. “We can now control each electrode with different currents and different voltage and place that therapy into a particular segment of the spinal cord. Because Nevro’s device is 10,000 Hz, our patients also don’t suffer paresthesia anymore, which is characterized by an abnormal prickling or tingling sensation.”
Martin’s surgery at West Michigan Surgery Center, this past January, was a success.
“It was a piece of cake,” said Martin. “I walked out of there 100% a different person. It was so hard to grasp at first that I no longer had any pain, no migraines, my right arm was all better, and I didn’t experience any tingling from the stimulator. It was just amazing!”
Just two weeks later Martin suffered serious injury to her neck as the result of a car accident. She says Dr. Juneja had her come in right away for X-rays and determined the leads from her new stimulator had moved. Martin says both the West Michigan Pain team and Nevro representatives took great care getting her back in to fix the problem.
“They are lifesavers,” said Martin, “If you have a question they call you right back, right away. The scar is still there, but the pain is completely gone, and I am finally back to a normal life! No more opioids. I can’t even tell that the stimulator is there.”
Martin says as she looks to the future, she’s confident that she made the right decision putting her care in the hands of Dr. Juneja and the rest of the team at West Michigan Pain.
“He was wonderful, and I feel like I’ve experienced a miracle,“ says Martin.“My whole demeanor in life has totally changed. I finally want to get up and open the shades, and am looking forward to purchasing some land up north to enjoy gardening again with my husband.”